THQ poaches Panda, Penguins, Puss

Publisher gets exclusive rights to games based on DreamWorks' new Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, and Penguins of Madagascar projects.

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For the past seven years, THQ has been the only company to publish games based on Pixar movies. However, that run will be ending as Pixar-parent Disney has taken Toy Story 3 game development in-house.

All three DreamWorks Animation projects included in THQ's deal are from series for which Activision has previously handled game development.
All three DreamWorks Animation projects included in THQ's deal are from series for which Activision has previously handled game development.

THQ addressed the resulting gap in its lineup today by announcing a multiyear deal with DreamWorks Animation SKG to make games based off three of its projects. The agreement gives THQ exclusive worldwide rights to the upcoming films Kung Fu Panda: Kaboom of Doom and the Shrek series spin-off Puss In Boots, as well as the Penguins of Madagascar TV series.

The deal does not include perhaps the biggest DreamWorks Animation property, Shrek, as Activision is currently at work on the game for the next theatrical installment in that series, Shrek Forever After. Activision has also been DreamWorks Animation's partner for games based on the Madagascar movies, which spun off the Penguins TV series for longtime THQ partner Nickelodeon.

THQ's DreamWorks Animation movie-based games will arrive alongside their theatrical counterparts, with Kung Fu Panda hitting theaters June 3, 2011, and Puss In Boots following November 4, 2011. The Penguins of Madagascar began airing earlier this year, and THQ expects to have the first games based on it available in its next fiscal year (which begins April 1).

This is not the first time working together for DreamWorks Animation and THQ. The pair struck a single-project agreement for games based on MegaMind (previously called Master Mind) in 2008. Set to debut in theaters in November of 2010, the film follows the story of a supervillain who seeks out meaning in his life after inadvertently killing his superhero nemesis in the opening scene of the film.

The THQ/DreamWorks Animation deal does not cover any game adaptations of the live-action projects from DreamWorks SKG. The Steven Spielberg-headed studio spun off its animation arm, led by former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, in 2004. Ironically, DreamWorks signed a major distribution deal in February with the Walt Disney Company, owner of DreamWorks Animation's archrival--Pixar.

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